The ferry that transports visitors to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior no longer poses a threat of transporting invasive species between the pristine island and its mainland port in Michigan.
That’s because the National Park Service has installed a ballast water treatment system on its M/V Ranger III ferry. It is the first permanent ballast water treatment system on a Great Lakes freshwater ship.
“The installation of the ballast treatment system on the Ranger III is a milestone in Great Lakes protection history,” said Isle Royale National Park Superintendent Phyllis Green. “We are pleased to dedicate the first permanent ballast treatment installation on a freshwater ship in the Great Lakes.”
Green enlisted the help of scientists at Michigan Technological University and Hyde Marine to develop a ballast water treatment system. University scientists developed the first system, which Hyde Marine then perfected. Learn more here.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funded the $500,000 project, which will advance efforts to keep freighters from importing and transporting invasive species into the Great Lakes.
Invasive species are considered the most serious problem facing the lakes. Zebra mussels and 57 other invaders that ocean freighters have imported into the Great Lakes since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 have caused billions of dollars in damage and caused profound, harmful changes in the lakes’ ecosystems.